Mammal Hum: What’s Behind Us Is Not Important

For all the excellent and impressive releases which have captured the imagination this year those that are truly unique make up a small percentage. With its release on September 17th What’s Behind Us Is Not Important from UK psychedelic pop band Mammal Hum, will add to that limited number of mouth watering original sounding releases. The album is simply wonderful, a surprising and glorious piece of imagination full of melodic enterprise and passionate ingenuity. It is also one of the most mischievous albums to appear, its songs teasing and coaxing the heart into reaction with a wicked glint to its sonic eye.

From Kingston Upon Hull, the quartet of Nick Cammack, Simon Andrew, Sarah Mole, and Leon Welburn, create music which has multiple hearts and breaths to its songs, the flavouring and influences a widespread realm of inventiveness turned into distinct Mammal Hum conjurations. Formed in 2008 as a trio, the band expanded with the addition of drummer Andrew the following year as they realised the sound was missing something. Fully armed with the vision and musical prowess of four aural troubadours, the band began writing songs across the following three years, the best going to make what is one wonderful release in What’s Behind Us Is Not Important. Multi-instrumentalists and a group vocal contribution throughout, the band has given the album a textured and layered majestic beauty, its sound a sprawling mesmeric soundscape of eighties power pop, seventies punk, and sixties psychedelia with whispers of indie folk and garage rock. Quite simply the release is big, bold, and boisterously magnificent.

Released through Mollusc Records, the album grabs the ear and flings it into an irresistible feisty maelstrom of explosive imagination from the very start with Disco Drumbo. With a gentle hi-hat and guitar welcome the song soon erupts into a flurry of garage riffs and eager inciteful rhythms alongside group vocals. With a raw energy and offering an incessant tease, the song is brilliant, a combined mix of Kontrust, De Staat, and The Knack filtered through Eddie & The Hot Rods for music at its primal and ingenious best.

The following Man On Fire and Shallow Beep swiftly venture into different golden fields, the first a pulsating glassy melodic sun with spices of XTC to its rays. The harmonies drawn vocally and musically burn with their withering heat whilst mesmerising with sixties pop caresses. The second song starts with the magic of The Monkees to its wings, the beginning a close cousin to songs like Last Train To Clarksville. A more relaxed and tender song than the first pair it still has emotions and thoughts tumbling with total pleasure.

Already to be honest the album has drawn passionate submission before its mighty craft and sounds but as the likes of the bristling pop gem I Am A Car, the rhythmic thumping that is The Bingo Wing, and the eagerly agitated Buzz Buzz, Kill Kill!!! smother the senses with further wanton aural mischief one is in deeper raptures. Each song is unique to each other and to anything elsewhere, the first of this trio a discord drifting pop classic whilst the second sounds like a big boned hook loaded Marilyn Manson song translated through a psychedelic maelstrom of sixties progressive and folk pop warmth. The third of these is simply a blistering scuzz spiced mix of The Flaming Groovies, Magic Numbers, and Ok Go, and stunning.

Alongside the opener, easily the fiercest burning highlight on the album is Sunday Express, a song of sheer musical beauty. It starts with just voice and acoustic guitar and captivates from the first breath, note, and word. It slowly evolves as the band adds its perfect touches without rushing until it has grown in to maybe one of most infectious pieces of sunshine heard in a long time. Whilst in its company it is impossible to refrain from joining in and after its departure, it is locked inside the head for hours, days after.

A fifteen track bumper pleasure the album is a consistent ride of immense joy with further outstanding songs like Bad Anita Barden and Little Hands just opening the gates to wider adoration. What’s Behind Us Is Not Important is the truest statement but one suspects what came before was as impressive and what lies ahead will leave hearts bursting at the seams. Mammal Hum and their album are one of the best things to emerge this year, maybe the very best.

RingMaster 13/09/2012

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Radio Room: When You’ve Made It


Vibrant and dynamic, the debut EP from Irish band Radio Room shows all the signs of a young band on the rise. Though yet to maybe find their distinct voice, the band and release captivates the ear and ignites the senses with well crafted sonic manipulations and hearty melodic invention. When You’ve Made It consists of four songs which shows immerse promise for the future and deep satisfaction right now.

From Dublin, the quartet of vocalist and guitarist Robbie Murphy, lead guitarist Collie Drennan, bassist Steven O’Neill, and Marco Persechini on drums, have made a steady impact on the local scene since forming in 2010. Their influences include the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club, Foals, and Two Door Cinema Club, who the band seem most often to be compared to, though there is also a slight eighties post punk element to their sound which drifts through thoughts as the songs tease the ear. The single There’s Only Ghosts at the end of last year, as well as the current one Functions and both included on the EP, have set attentions sweeping their way already and with When You’ve Made It one suspects Radio Room will be a band on the horizons of many more welcomingly people.

The release opens with the excellent As The World Churns, a song which instantly lights the heart with its pulsating deep bass lines and sharp tingly guitar play. Immediately infectious and enterprising with every note and vocal harmony inciting intrigue, the track leaps and bounds over the ear with an eager heart and dazzling sparks of invention. One can argue it does not offer anything startlingly new but its mesmeric charm and excitable imagination sets it apart from many similarly fuelled releases quite easily.

From the impressive and smouldering beginning the EP turns to Functions to further raise the temperature with its feisty energy and mellower caresses. It is a smart blend of restraint and keen urgency with again bass and vocals coring the magnetic sonic discord and melodic fires of the guitars. Within a framework of jabbing beats to drive the track deep the song builds with craft to a crescendo of twisting and hypnotic sounds. With the previously mentioned band as a comparison this track alone also has essences of Baddies and to a lesser extent Young Knives to its presence.

Nether prances in next to continue the fine danceable and heart rate pushing fun. The bass again stokes the fires within, its touch a probing and stirring breath within this and every song whilst the guitars once more dance with golden melodies and exquisite hooks, leading them to their fullest heights and coating them in emotive elegance lined with that disharmonic whisper.

The songs are not exactly anthemic but there is certainly something involved which has voice and heart in union with them throughout choruses and repetitive moments, the closing There’s Only Ghosts the perfect example. With a slight snarl to the bass and barracking rhythms, the song explores the senses with intelligent melodic fingerings to make the blood flow faster whilst the vocals invite participation with their uncluttered and easy to connect to delivery.

Over the four tracks there is a slight similarity on the surface to show the band is still evolving and finding their unique sound but from what is simply an impressive release one can only be excited and full of anticipation of what comes next from Radio Room.

RingMaster 13/09/2012

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Caravan Of Whores: Road To Kurti

Reading their bio before entering into the vast heavy soundscapes of Road To Kurti from UK doom band Caravan Of Whores, it said ‘…we do not sound like anyone else because we are ourselves and comfortable in our own skin…’ After sharing multiple journeys with the EP it really is hard to raise any disagreement to their claim. The genre they create their deep and rich storms within is well trodden and been expanded again and again over recent years, but there is something about this Oxfordshire trio which is openly different and refreshing.

Formed in May 2009, though the name has been around since 2002, the threesome of vocalist and bassist Pete Smith, guitarist John Slaymaker, and drummer Jamie Gillett, has built a formidable reputation for their sounds and live performances. The past years has seen them play alongside the likes of Serpent Venom, Bendal Interlude, Godsized,  XII Boar, Desert Storm, Grifter, and  Dopefight to name just a few, with 2011 alone finding the band playing over 50 shows. Debut EP, A Cosmic Interlude of last year, drew strong attention and acclaim their way with one track being featured on a compilation front cover CD from Metal Hammer. Road To Kurti finds the band taking their sound further forward whilst being destined to capture more eager hearts with its doom driven sludge wrapped sounds.

The opening track Drug Queen takes no time in swamping the ear with vibrant and resonating labouring riffs, their hearty crawl an oppressive yet magnetic treacle weave. As the track through its eight minute plus presence lumbers across the senses with a weighty taunting breath, the rhythms of Gillett skilfully plunders and scampers across the thick mass they rupture to bring a countering eager energy to the intensity. The song is an ever shifting muscular creature with caustic dazzling guitar solos and melodic spires of burning sonics to offer an unpredictable and mesmeric source of pleasure. At times one almost feels the track is part improv as it meanders throughout its climax but it is simply pure organic control and skill at play.

The following Mr Bendyman, another lengthy treat to captivate throughout, shuffles the senses with  further strong rhythmic punches, expressive energy sucking guitar craft, and heady consuming riffs. The song sucks the fire from the air transforming it into deeper sludge tar to be welcomingly overwhelmed by whilst sending shards of metallic melodic sparks across the senses to break up the intensive weight of the piece. The vocals of Smith, as with all tracks, are expressive and a great fit to the sounds though arguably could have been drawn out more in production as they are at times a little swamped by the music.

To be fair it is hard to express everything which explodes and permeates from within the massive tracks on the EP as with each listen one is finding something new to chew upon such the richness of sound and writing. The excellent Your God Is Dead is a great example, each visit revealing a new depth and twist to its consumptive hulk. Emerging as favourite track, the song is a fuzzy piece of combative and challenging intent. It has a punk edge to its inciteful energy and heart whilst hitting further diversity upon the release through its almost classic metal stabs and peaks. The track is a crushing riled tempest which sparks with a raw abrasive might to ignite real passion for its formidable sound.

Closing with the scorched stoner tinged Waiting, a track at a short five minutes but no less impactful and enthralling, the EP is a mighty piece of honest metal. With essences of  bands such as Kyuss, Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, and Orange Goblin to its muscled tones, Road To Kurti is an impressive storm brought by a band in Caravan Of Whores, which is building to be of the real giants in the future of UK metal.
RingMaster 13/09/2012

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